Willa Cather Spring Conference 2009


The 2009 Spring Conference will focus on religious, moral, and spiritual themes in some of Cather's prairie fiction. Special speakers will include Bishop Frank Griswold (former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and long-time Cather fan), Ann Moseley, and other noted Cather scholars. There will be a Gallery show and lecture as well as a feature on Lucy Gayheart and Chicago (leading up to the June 2009 International Seminar). We'll mark the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Mildred Bennett's birth with a gala party, and there will be a special series of activities focused on the Depression Era Great Plains and Woody Guthrie as well. Several people familiar with its liturgies are planning a Taizè meditation for the conference, among them a newcomer to our conference, the Rev. Ruth Eller.

Click here to register

Click here for the full Spring Conference brochure

April 2009 SCHEDULE

Friday, April 24

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. -- Registration, Opera House Bookstore, 413 North Webster

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Photographs from the UN-L Archives and Special Collections, Opera House Gallery
  • "Hard Travelin','" Woody Guthrie Photograph and Lyric Exhibit, Opera House Auditorium

9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. -- Taizé song workshop by Mike Adams, Grace Episcopal Church

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. -- "Images from UN-L Archives" by Andy Jewell, Gallery

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. -- "Cather in the Classroom" and presentation of the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship, Virgil Albertini, Auditorium

1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. -- "Woody Guthrie and the Great Plains" by Katherine Benzel, Auditorium

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. -- Song Writing Workshop by Mike Adams, Grace Episcopal Church

2:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m. -- "Reading Lucy Gayheart" with Guy Reynolds, Susan Maher and Cynthia Bruneteau, Auditorium

3 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. -- "Reading Obscure Destinies" with Charles Peek, Ann Romines, and Steven Trout, Auditorium

4:30p.m. - 5:30 p.m. -- "The Future--Chicago, Here We Come," a report on 12th International Seminar by Guy Reynolds.  The Willa Cather Foundation Annual Report by Jay Yost, Auditorium

7:30 p.m. -- Wine and dessert reception for Mildred Bennett's Centenary.  Dr. William Bennett, speaker, and showing of Singing Cather's Song, in Auditorium (This event costs $5 for people who are interested in attending but who do not want to register for full Conference events.)

Meals will be on your own for this day.

Saturday, April 25

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. -- Kolache and coffee; Late registration, Gallery

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

  • Photographs from the UN-L Archives and Special Collections, Gallery
  • "Hard Travelin'," Woody Guthrie Photograph and Lyric Exhibit, Auditorium

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. -- "Not stories at all, but life itself" by the Right Reverend Frank Griswold, Auditorium

10:15 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. -- The Passing Show, "'The best days are the first to flee': Transience and Permanence in Cather's Lucy Gayheart, Obscure Destinies, and 'The Best Years'" by Ann Moseley, with Ruth Eller, John Murphy, and Steven Shively, respondents Auditorium

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. -- Salad luncheon and introduction of Board of Governors, Elementary School

1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. -- Taizé service and meditation, Grace Episcopal Church

2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. -- Alternating activities (A detailed schedule will be available at registration)

  • Prairie walk with Jim Fitzgibbon, Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
  • "Neighbour Rosicky" readings with Betty and Ron Kort, Pavelka Farmstead
  • More on "The Best Years" with Steven Shively, Yost Farm One-Room Schoolhouse
  • "Old Mrs. Harris" readings with Bruce Baker, Willa Cather Childhood Home
  • "The Windows of Grace Episcopal Church" by Barbara Johnson, Grace Episcopal Church

6:00 p.m
. -- Cider, Beer, Brats, and Music, Burlington Depot--Woody Guthrie program by Mike Adams and Katherine Benzel--Sponsored by the Nebraska Humanities Council (This event costs $15 for people who are interested in attending but who do not want to register for full Conference events.)


6:00 p.m. -- Board of Governors' Dinner, Opera House (This event costs $65, and is an open to  everyone--those attending Conference and those who do not wish to register for the full Conference schedule of events.)

9:00 p.m. -- Mike Adams Jam Session/Sing-a-long, Cather and Company Booksellers

The Red Cloud Chamber of Commerce will host a variety of additional activities throughout the weekend.